The Kings are undertaking a partnership with the violence-prevention center Peace Over Violence, one of several programs unveiled by the team under the umbrella of Conduct Awareness Training Initiatives.
“During the past year, we have been extremely diligent in developing an educational strategy and comprehensive programs in an effort to ensure that the troubling incidents that occurred last season are not repeated,” Dan Beckerman, chief executive of AEG, the Kings’ parent company, said in a statement.
Two Kings players were arrested in a six-month span earlier this year, followed by another in June. Two cases (those of Jarret Stoll and Mike Richards) involved allegations of drug possession; the other involved defenseman Slava Voynov, who entered a no-contest plea to a charge of domestic violence. Voynov announced last week that he intended to return to his native Russia instead of contesting lengthy deportation proceedings.
In addition to the violence-prevention program, the team said it will conduct sexual-harassment training and a conduct-awareness program. It will also participate in the Herren Project, designed at “better educating players about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.”
As previously reported, the Kings have hired former NHL player Brantt Myhres to serve as player assistance. Myhres joined the team earlier this month and has been on hand since rookie camp opened two weeks ago.
“These programs are now part of the development process for all of our hockey players,” Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said in a statement. “No longer can we solely focus on their growth and education as just hockey players. We need to give them tools to thrive as people, too. These programs will extend to their family lives and empower them with strategies to best manage their positive development off the ice.”
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter thought it was crucial to unveil the initiatives during training camp.
“I think it’s important,” he said. “It’s probably something that got overlooked. It’s obviously been made more relevant, but it’s important. To have any sort of session or meeting or video pertaining to any of those situations - and instead of just 25 guys here, it’s while everybody is still here, is good. To get it in place and start some sort of format is good.”
The age range of the current players is trending younger, especially in comparison to Sutter’s playing days.
“For the most part, your teams were, mid-20s to 40. Now they’re teenagers to 35,” he said. “So there’s a big difference. A big difference in what’s going on in the world and a big difference in your age group.”
Said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty: “It’s definitely good to have [these programs]. Our team is making everyone aware of these kind of situations. Obviously all this stuff just kind of happened out of nowhere and a lot of the guys don’t know anything about these things. It’s good to have that and to have Brantt around.
“Not only could you go to him if you’re having any off-ice issues -- which no one on our team is -- but sometimes if you are struggling in a game, struggling and the coaches aren’t giving you ice time. You’re not going to go to the coaches or the GM (general manager) and be like, ‘What’s going on?’
“He might be someone you can talk to besides your teammates. He’s obviously been through a lot. He’s been through it all, really. He’s here to teach us about that and here to help us realize that’s not the road you want to take.”